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Year : 2013  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 40-43

Knowledge of oral cancer and screening practice of B.Sc. nursing students in Davangere City, India

1 Department of Public Health Dentistry, Dr. D.Y. Patil Dental College and Hospital, Dr. D.Y. Patil Vidyapeeth, Sant-Tukaram Nagar, Pimpri, Pune - 18, Maharashtra, India
2 Department of Public Health Dentistry, Coorg Institute of Dental Sciences, Virajpet, India
3 Department of Public Health Dentistry, Indira Gandhi Institute of Dental Sciences, Kothamangalam, India
4 Principal, V S Dental College and Hospital, Bangalore, Karnataka, India
5 College of Dental Sciences, Davangere, India

Correspondence Address:
Simpy Mittal
Assistant Professor, Department of Public Health Dentistry, Dr. D.Y. Patil Dental College and Hospital, Pimpri, Pune - 411018
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0974-7761.126944

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Background: Oral cancer mainly affects individuals in the 6 th and 7 th decades of life with a history of risk factors like, smoking, tobacco chewing and alcohol consump­tion. Early recognition and referral is essential for higher cure rates and better quality of life. Nursing staff provides the oral health care for patients in hospital. Admission to hospital provides a ''window of opportunity'' for oral cancer screening via an oral health checkup during nursing care. Objective: To measure awareness of risk factors, clinical signs and screening service for oral cancer among nursing students. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional questionnaire survey was conducted in two Nursing Colleges of Davangere city. The questionnaire consisted of 17 closed ended questions. The questionnaire was pre-tested and validated before administering. Results: Among 300 nursing students, 231 were females and 69 were males. Over 90% thought oral health checkups were important although only 69% performed oral examination regularly; approximately 90% identified smoking and use of tobacco products as a risk factor but very few identified other associated factors like alcohol. Only 55% of the respondents were aware about the most common site of occurrence of oral cancer. Only 49% recognized a non healing ulcer as a sign of oral cancer. Over 90% of the students felt that a nursing student needs more education about screening for oral cancer and were willing to participate in a network to promote early screening for oral cancer. Conclusion: This study revealed that nurses' awareness of oral cancer risk factors and clinical signs, in the group under study was, however, poor. This study highlights a need for improved education of nurses on oral cancer to make the oral health checkup on admission viable for oral cancer screening.

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